Who Am I

 

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A thrum of energy resonated through me, as time seemed to pause.  A drop of water from the leaking faucet hung in the air for a moment before crashing into the metallic basin, with a thunderous crash.  Stirring me from the thought that had me frozen.  “Who am I?”

What a question.  I have spent my entire life pondering, somedays I increase my ponder level to a million though, and seemingly stop time.  Today is one of those days.  Let’s dig in shall we.

“Am I my past?”  Well, one would surmise that, yes, yes I am my past because everything in my past has made me the man sitting here at the kitchen table writing this blog right now.  However, that would mean that I am only possible of doing the things that my past has shown I am capable of doing, which is to say destroy my life with bad choices and alcohol.  Well I know for a fact I am not that person anymore, I haven’t been for almost six months now, what a miracle.

“So, I am not my past, fine.  Am I the man I want to be?”  Great question, thank you for asking.  Sure I could say, well yeah I am the man I want to be.  I am sober, I’m writing every day, I have published two books in two months.  I have accomplished a lot.  I have friends who I care about and my relationships with my family are growing better each day.  Not bad, I could be happy saying I am that guy.  But, “Is that who I am?”  NO, it’s not.

“Well geez, Matt, who are you then?   Are you the future you?”  HA, I say.  What a silly question, of course, I am not the future me, that me only exists in my imagination.  He has lived a life of a million stories, loved and laughed until he was incapable of doing either another moment more, yet still somehow found the endurance to love more and to laugh more.  No, I am not that man.

“It would seem you are confused then Matt, you have no real Idea of who you are.”  Ha, I say again to you.  For I am all these men, I am built of my past experiences but not limited by them.  I am proud of my current accomplishments but not satisfied with them.  And I am excited for the next moment that is sure to come and fill me with all the joy it could ever muster, as soon as I am done with this moment.

I am as religion teaches, and the program, a Trinity of things.  I am only truly who I am when I am mindful of the 3 in 1.

“Wow, that is very interesting.  I have never thought of it in that way.  You must be very proud of yourself.”  Haha, I am and you should be too because you are the “past me” asking the “present me” about the “future me”  and we are all here to answer the call.

Now I ask you, Who Are You?

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Do The Thing: A Dance to the Grave

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A man lay, with shallow breath and half-closed eyes on the hospital bed. His well-worn face marked with the lines of untold numbers of smiles and laughter. He was 93 years old and had been taken off any sort of assisted life support two days ago. He had asked the medical staff to do it. Said he would breathe just fine on his own. And he knew his grandson was coming today. He had been waiting for weeks to see him.
“Hi grandpa, how are you feeling?” the young man said quietly entering the room.
Opening his eyes slowly and turning his head to the sound the old man began to smile.
“I feel better than ever.” The old man said with a laugh waving his grandson over to have a seat next to him.
“I am glad you could make it down to see me. I will probably be gone after today.” The old man said grabbing his grandson’s hand.
“Grandpa, don’t talk like that. You are going to be fine.”
“I know I will be fine, it doesn’t change the fact that I am dying.”
“Aren’t you scared.” The grandson asked he was well groomed in his mid-thirties, wearing a long sleeve button up shirt and tie as if he had just left work.
“I am terrified.” The old man said with a laugh.
“Why are you laughing, Grandpa?”
“Because I have been terrified my whole life. Yet I have lived a wonderful life. I don’t think dying will have changed that.”
“Aren’t you afraid to not be around anymore?”
“Grandson, I want you to understand something, I learned a long time ago, not a single one of us are getting out of life alive,” he said laughing still.
“I don’t understand.”
“Listen carefully, what I am about to tell you changed my life. The richest place on earth is not the banks with gold or diamond minds. The richest place on earth is the graveyard. Because in the graveyard ideas and inventions, stories, books, and movies that were never made lay buried. Never to see the light of life. I have told all my stories, I have written all my books. I stood in front of giants and didn’t back down, I told the women I loved, I love her every day. I laughed and cried to the fullest of my capabilities. I did what I love even when I was exhausted and thought I couldn’t go on. I looked at the fear staring me in my face and ran through it. Because life will always be full of things we want to do, and fear will keep many from ever doing it. But all of the greatest victories and rewards in life lie on the other side of Fear. I am afraid of dying, but it is something I will go through the same way I did in life, dancing and laughing. Some people dance to the grave, while others are dragged kicking and screaming. Either way, it is where we are all headed. So, Grandson if you have not done the thing you want because of Fear. I implore you to move forward and do it anyway. Do not come to the grave, heavy with the burden of an unlived life. Come to it free and weightless, with the knowledge that there was not one more thing you could have done.

I am tired today, the sort of tired that comes along with doing something new and challenging in life. Like starting a new excercise program or building any new habit. There are going to be days like today where I just don’t feel like doing the thing. Even if it is the thing I most want to do. I realize this is a form of fear for me. I see my energy level and say, “I can’t produce anything of value when I am tired like I am now.” The fact is it is this fear that has caused me to quit things my entire life or to use substances to block out that tired feeling and make me believe I was super human. Well, I am proud to say I am far from Super Human. I am learning that Being Bold and doing what I want not only takes courage to walk through fear but it takes a certain amount of humility to remember that I am allowed to be weak and vulnerable. Everything I write and say will not be a master piece, to be held in the highest regards and to immortalize me as a great. The fact is I come to each day now with the realization that I am going to die, like it or not. And that realization allows me to do what I love even when I am tired and feel like I can’t go on. Because I just love doing this, I love to write even the most ridiculous of stories. Actually the more ridiculous the better. And I know that if I didn’t do what I loved today, because of fear that the product was not worthy of my greatness then I would regret not doin it.  I am done living a life of regret.

It is a choice that we make each morning to live or to die. To dance to the grave or be dragged to it. I will dance today, looking silly and tired but I will dance because I am headed there any way I might as well enjoy myself along the way.

I hope for anyone struggling to get moving today or to just get started on the thing that you have been terrified to start, that you just take a leap of faith and move one foot in the direction you want to go. What is the worst that could happen, you die? Oh, right we are all going to do that anyway. Good luck.

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An Original: Back to Basics

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There once was a portrait of a man. Painted by an Artist with an uncommon hand. For the Artist had dreams, he had hopes and love. Pouring into his painting all the above. Crafting a face with a heart full of Grace. Eyes full of purpose and a soul for the chase. He stood back from his work with admiration and pride. “This is it!” He exclaimed starting to cry. For he knew it was time for his painting to go, to make a name for himself his painting must grow. It was the Artist hope to be known by all, to be loved and adored for his work on the wall. But for this to happen the portrait must shine, it must be as it is, in all of its time. Standing up straight, not looking around, the portrait must place its feet on the ground. The world would learn who the Artist was when looking at the man in the portrait he loved.

But the portrait forgot the care that was gave to crafting itself and all of its ways. Looking around as it hung on the wall, seeing the colors of others made the portrait feel small. Forgetting the Artist the portrait felt shame, it felt guilt and despair and even his name. No longer even sure of who he was, the portrait began to catch on the buzz. Changing his shape and dusting his coat, the portrait no longer resembled what the Artist wanted most. No longer original, the man blended in, with all of the paintings for this was his sin.
Created to shine with purpose and grace the portrait was lost, now in a dark place. The portrait felt sick alone in the dark, just trying to fit in but he had lost his spark. The Artist had seen what his painting had become, reaching to it with a hand from above. The portrait of the man asked with a groan, why did you make me feel so alone. The Artist replied, “I made you with love, losing your way was not from above. Stop looking around and pick yourself up, you were created for a purpose not out of luck. Your purpose is to shine with all of your flaws, and show the world just how amazing you are. I don’t make junk not starting with you I created all of these paintings and not but a few. Truly see they are amazing, that they are special an unique an original for sure if only they would seek. Look deep into yourself in the place that I made, remember your name and from whence you came.

I need you to shine, just as you are. So straighten yourself up and focus on me, I created a portrait for all to see. Not to hide in the dark, scared and alone, when you focus on me you will remember your name. Becoming the portrait I know you can be, I made you that way, now shine for me.” The painting felt strange he felt hopeful and alive the darkness had burst open now seeing the sky. The light was pouring in all of this time his eyes had been closed not wanting to find. The thing that made him special, unique and a gift, the painting understood his place in all of it. The portrait remembered just who he was, created for a purpose by the Artist above.

Continue reading “An Original: Back to Basics”

Surrender to Start

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The sound of air exploded out of me, as I went flying towards the pavement landing with a sickening crack as my skull met the ground. My breathing was distinctly labored, every breath was my last. Each bone in my body was radiating pain, and my skin was on fire. I had never died before, but this seemed to be what it would feel like. My heart thundered in my ears like a war drum beating ferociously, trying with all it had to keep me alive. The air had such a staleness to it as if I were already in the grave, and this, the dying part was merely a formality. A powerful voice sounded from above me. My eyes were swollen shut, so I couldn’t make out who it was, and the ringing in my ears made the voice echo with more tonality.
“Have you had enough?” It asked.
My voice was ragged like pieces of old rusted metal had been scrapped across my vocal cords, “No, I need you still,” I said.
“I have already taken everything from you and brought you to the brink of death. You will die if you continue on with me.” The voice said, almost sad for me. But it couldn’t be sad; it wasn’t a living thing.
“Then I will die, I don’t know how to live without you.” My ropes end had been reached; there was nothing left for me.
The thing began to move in swiftly on me, for Its final blow, the killing blow. When suddenly another voice sounded as if it were over top of me, shielding me protectively like a mother protecting her young.
“He is done!” The voice yelled at the thing. “You will leave here now!” The protective voice screamed at the thing, and before I knew what happened, it was gone.

I woke up in my bed the bruises and breaks from the night before left me barely able to move. My body would recover, it was my mind that troubled me, as the thoughts raced about the night before fear began to set in. “How was I going to live without Alcohol?”

Surrender was the only way. I was unable to surrender on my own that night. I would have allowed Alcohol to kill me, in truth I went to bed many nights with the hope that I had drank enough to do just that. Only to wake up the next morning disappointed. It was not me that saved myself that night, It was my higher power, who I call God. And it was not the first time God intervened on my behalf. It is only by God’s grace that I am alive today, and at a point in my life where I can now choose to surrender my life every day to God.
The first step teaches me to surrender first to Alcohol, realizing it is my greatest enemy. Once I can surrender and accept that alcohol or my own will can no longer run my life, but that it has to be run by something more significant than me, can I move forward with my life. Truly alive.

The New year always brings with it a litany of resolutions for who we are going to be this year. Promises to ourselves that this year will be different. “I will do things differently, I swear.” A promise I made so many times.  I no longer am worried about what I will be like in a year. Instead, I am focusing on who I am and where I am right now in this moment. I am willing to surrender this moment to get to the next. Realizing that by surrendering each present moment to the past, I am planting seeds for future growth. By holding on to the seeds, I have assured myself an empty future.

I ask myself today, what am I putting into this present moment that will lead to future growth? When I know my starting spot, I can learn what I need to do each step of the way for a better life. Planting seeds full of life, love and laughter along the way. Surrendering in each moment so that I can start a new one. Because every moment I have ever lived in has not been perfect, but it has been full of every single thing I need at that moment to be complete.

I will Surrender each moment with the firm belief that I did all I could in it, and continue to thank God for the grace that continues to bring me through.

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2019 Predictions: 100% Accuracy

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A great ball of fire will rip through the sky heating the planet, before sending it into complete darkness. The Moon will glow full and blood red before disappearing for some time. The Oceans will recede, and there will be great migrations of wildlife across the globe. The Earth will be rocketed through space, nearly being destroyed by fields of Asteroids. Millions of people will die, and millions more will be born. All of humanity will look to the sky at some point asking, “why am I here?” There will be global political turmoil, splitting families and friends. Gyms will see a 40% increase in business only to be hit by a 20% decrease two months later. The world economy will be in question and fear of global destruction will be on the minds of many. People will laugh and dance, love and live. While others cry and suffer, beg and plead for salvation. The air will become dense and hard to breathe at some point in the year sending millions of people indoors, while others will be made to run around and play games in the dense atmosphere. There will be a significant food shortage as many around the world starve to death, while others enjoy an overabundance of resources. The majority of the money in the world will be in the pockets of the same 1% as it was last year.
And finally, everyone who made a resolution to lose 15lbs at the beginning of the year will have put that same 15lbs back on by the end of the year.

Here is the Truth, things have been pretty much the same for the majority of recorded human history, a little over 6,000 years. Things are not suddenly going to change. The sun will still rise and set around the same time it usually does. The tides will go in and out.  Animals will go to their favorite summer vacation spots in the winter. Half the world will have too much, while the other half doesn’t have enough. Everyone will still want to know what the hell they are doing here.

It is not a big mystery to figure out what is going to happen. The trick is not getting caught up in fear of what might happen, because six thousand years of recorded history have shown me that everything will be just about the way it has always been. The question is, “what am I to do about it if I want a better year than the one I previously had?” In that the answer is simple, it is not always easy and definitely not always fun. But the truth of the matter is the only thing I can do about the future of the world is change who I am becoming. I can work on myself.

Jim Rohn said “Self-development is the key to success, don’t chase after success. Success is looking for a nice place to stay.”

I must become the man who embodies success and victory. I must become more today than I was yesterday, and I do that by working a spiritual program of recovery. The 12 steps are my foundation to becoming a man that does not do one good thing, I am becoming the man that is successful and inspired, and everything I produce is successful and inspired.
The world is not going to change; it is what it is. It always has been and as far as I can tell always will be. It is up to me to be different if I want something more for my life. By becoming different (Better) I can accept life on life’s terms because I am no longer a victim of life, I am not worried about the things out of my control. I see what I have control over, and I improve those things with a relentless mindset. I go after my dreams full of fear but more full of faith. I humble myself with the fact that I may fail and realize that failure is and has always been a part of the human condition and I am as human as the next man. The beautiful thing is that I realize that today, but only as a product of working the 12 steps every day in all my affairs. Life has become simpler because it isn’t too big anymore, I can’t keep the sun from rising or setting, but I can get up with it and make the most of the time I have in front of me. By doing all I can in my present moment I am carving out the future version of my self, one glorious step at a time.

Have a great day.  And if you enjoy what you read here, please feel free to share. If it helped you, it may help someone else.

Failing with Purpose

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Blood runs down my leg; it’s beginning to pool at my sock, mixing with the dirt and dust from a day filled with running and jumping. I let out a yell of frustration. “Aahhh! I hate this, why can’t I do it already?” The bike lies in a heap next to me on the asphalt where I fell off again for the hundredth time today. I throw curse words at the bike, ones that I shouldn’t know at the age of five but have somehow made it into my vocabulary. Spitting in my hand and rubbing it on the bloody spot on my knee I stand back up, pissed as hell and ready to go again.

Eventually, I learned how to ride a bike. I can’t tell you how many times I fell before I got it, and I can’t tell you how many times I fell after I learned. But what I can tell you is that at some point I became a badass at riding a bike. I could even do it with no hands, or with my eyes closed, which I don’t recommend. I can tell you that from falling over and over again in the process of learning to ride that bike, I became tougher and mentally stronger because I was no longer afraid to fall. I had already fallen a million times and miraculously got back up.

It seems to be that way with anything in life; I start with an idea of the thing I want to do, most times its nothing more extravagant than learning to ride a bike, which at the time was the most important thing in my life. Then it ends up being this incredibly difficult, and rewarding, life-changing process.

I have lapses where I forget how important failure is for growth, especially when my dream or the thing I am going after is something I have never done before. I forget that I have to learn what it takes to reach my goals, I have to learn what not to do, just as much as I have to learn, what to do.

I am learning and relearning every day that it isn’t necessarily about reaching the goals that I have set. What it is really about is Who I become in the process of achieving my goals. The daily grind, the failure that makes me bleed and cry — the failure that pushes back at me, screaming that I am going to die or be ridiculed for my attempts to reach my goals. That failure that is so terrifying is SO necessary for me to become the man that is a successful writer. Not the man that accidentally writes something good and can’t reproduce it ever again because I don’t know how I did it in the first place.
My goal of becoming a successful writer is the same as learning to ride a bike. There are going to be failures along the way; I am going to fail sometimes. I am going to struggle and ask myself if writing is really what I want to do. It’s in those times of doubt and failure that I have the choice to grow stronger or fall back and allow the giant brick wall in front of me to keep me from my dream. I read a quote last night that went like this.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture.

To me, this means; who am I willing to become to reach my goal?  I know I have this goal and this desire for a reason it is not an accident that I have this passion for writing. But am I willing to become the man that will run through any “Brick Wall?”  Time after time, even when the wall seems too big and strong.  Will my level of desire and determination make me the man who is unstoppable and able to move through anything even if it takes a lifetime? It is not a question I can answer in the definite for my life but is a question that I have answered yes to every morning for almost six months now. I am willing to do whatever it takes today to reach my goal. When tomorrow comes I hope that the work I put in today makes me the man that will answer Yes again, and get back up and run at that wall a little harder and a little faster.
Who I become in the process of chasing my dreams is the ultimate reward. Because when I stack up all those day’s, improving even the smallest amount, I will be the man I was created to be, and that is Failing with Purpose; That is Living with Purpose.

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Vision: When Doubt Sets In.

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I hear voices, lots of voices. Ok, not those kind of voices; they don’t tell me to do bad things or hurt people, and they don’t speak different languages. No, I hear the cries of other people in my life. My brain likes to pretend it knows what other people are thinking, it also plays this game where it invents people that I don’t even know and tells me their thoughts too. “Well, that’s just crazy Matt!” I know, as my brain answers the doubting question nobody asked.

I am hard wired like this, I don’t know about the rest of you, but I can come up with the most hateful, fearful, doubt-filled comments in my own head, and make myself believe it is what other people are thinking too. I bring this up because my morning, starting at 5am has been filled with these horrible doubting thoughts. All the ones that tell me I’m no good, and I will never reach my goals; that people are laughing at me behind my back because they can’t believe how stupid my dreams are. Well, isn’t that all just a bunch of ridiculous nonsense. Even if it were all true, would it change what I wanted to do? Would it stop me from being filled with the joy that I have been filled with since I started chasing my dreams? No, no it wouldn’t.

The fact that I have these thoughts means that the old Matt is scared, he is shaking in his dirty old sneakers looking for an excuse to run to a bottle of vodka and give up. It is times like this that I have to remind my self, of “Why” and look towards my vision of the future, not my fear of the past or the lacking of the present. I want to share something with the ones that read this. It is my vision statement, my reason or my “Why” for doing what I do.

“To inspire and motivate others to be their best selves. To serve others with humility. To be better today than I was yesterday. To have the courage to live a good life and become the man God created me to be.”

I wanted to share this with you because of my experience with doubt this morning. Yesterday I wrote about having guts and the faith to take action, having just released my first Novel I felt pretty good about myself. Well, as is usual those good feelings last about as long as a cup of coffee. It didn’t take long for the doubt to set in or “the voices,” It was a maelstrom this morning, a deafening cacophony of, “YOU IDIOT, NO ONE WANTS TO READ YOUR BULLSHIT!” And “YOU ARE WASTING YOUR TIME AND EMBARRASSING YOUR SELF!” I wanted to jump back in my whole and hug my knees to my chest, rocking back and forth like a scared child.

Until I remembered “Why” I was doing what I was doing. I remembered my vision. Nowhere in my vision statement did I say that I would be the greatest writer of all time or that everyone would love me. Nope, instead, my vision is to inspire, motivate and serve others. Not that being the greatest of all time and having everyone love you is bad, it just isn’t “Why” I am in the game. I want to inspire others because I want to be inspired. I want to motivate others because I want to be motivated. I realize that if I want to be successful, I have to love the process of success and find out what success means to me. And at the end of the day, success for me is not a giant house with fountains all over the place. Or tons of really nice cars.

Success for me is a sense of peace and well being. It’s being in Love and being inspired, on a daily basis. If I can achieve that by sitting at a kitchen table or in this case a Hampton Inn, bedroom desk, then by God I am going to do it. All the fancy property and things come as a result of me following my passion and doing what I love, and not focusing on the outcome or the doubt. Other peoples opinions of me are none of my business. Especially if what I am doing is helping me live a wonderful life and not hurt others. Also, I was reminded this morning, by a nice email, that I am doing exactly what I intended to do in my vision statement. I inspired someone, an excellent friend, to start doing something that they have wanted to do but just couldn’t force themselves to do. How awesome is that?  That just so happens to be the exact thing I want to do, my God it’s amazing.  I don’t care what it is you want to do if you haven’t started yet, now is the time.

The doubters will come, and it will feel like you are just banging your head against a wall sometimes, but then you will remember “Why” you started in the first place and your Vision, will outshine your doubt.

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Different

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The Day has arrived. I thought it never would. I had no reference for anything like this in my past. I didn’t know what to expect, and I had no clue what I was doing, but I did it all the same. “What did I do?” You ask.
Well, I published a real-life novel, available now on Amazon and Kindle.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Trent+Foster+and+The+Council+of+10

Soon I will be holding my very own copy of my very own book. I swear, I never thought this would be possible just six months ago. I dreamed about one day being a published author, but I had no clue how I would get there or if I ever would. It was as they call it, a pipe dream. But that is the magic of the program of AA.

I didn’t know that by working the 12 steps and taking the simple, not natural action of getting sober and working a spiritual program, that my dreams could become a reality. It was such a simple answer too. It usually is.  I remember the day it started; I had just finished a book called “Start With Why.” By Simon Sinek, which is all about figuring out the “Why” of your life and working from that point. It is the reason the program of AA works so well. AA has a defined “Why,” and there can be no deviation from it. The programs Why is to find a new, better way to live without Alcohol and its main purpose is accomplished by the “How,” which is the 12 steps. A simple program of action, and the “What,” becomes all these beautiful gifts of a sober, spiritual life.

Anyway, one day two months ago, October 11th to be exact. I wrote what my “Why” was; then because I needed a job, I began to look for work with that “Why” in mind.

Well, I got two job interviews set up that day for positions I thought were my dream jobs, coaching football and recruiting. So, I got dressed up and went to my first job interview — a recruiting position at a reasonably new scouting firm; I was so excited.  I ended up walking around midtown for an hour in 90-degree heat, looking for the building, calling my contact multiple times and getting no response. After an hour bloodied and drenched in sweat, I gave up. I was literally bleeding, don’t buy dress shoes from Walmart, your feet will thank you. What a massive failure, I didn’t even go to the next interview, which was for a coaching position at a junior college. I was so angry and honestly just over the whole work thing, haha. It is funny how things happen in life that seem like huge failures but end up being the kick in the ass that is genuinely required for success.

I said to myself that day, “Matt you didn’t get sober to keep doing the same miserable things you have done your whole freaking life. It is time to try something different,” and I did. I was so motivated not to have to live like I have lived my entire life that I started writing, because If you want to be a writer, you have to write.  Starting just over two months ago now and have published two…  TWO FREAKING BOOKS!! I previously never thought it was possible.
Here is my take away, I discovered my “Why” and the way I went about accomplishing it was the same way I had gone about my life, My whole Life. The program of AA teaches me to try something different, keep an open mind, be willing to take action when an opportunity arises, and stay honest. If I expect for my life to be different, then I need to be different.  I never thought that I would spend hundreds of hours in front of a computer screen writing, and it would become the most joyful, fulfilling experience of my life. But it has, and it is a miracle of working a program of recovery through AA.

I say all that to say:  Knowing that I need to be different is one thing. Actually taking action to do something completely different is another. I could have let all the past failures keep me from writing and publishing my own books.  I was laughed out of the writing center in college, unable to spell my last name until 3rd grade. I am not a genius by any stretch, but I did make a decision. I decided I would no longer be limited by fears or not knowing exactly how to do something. I just started doing it and you know what, I figured the rest of the stuff out along the way. That is what life is, no one is born with a pre-existing knowledge of everything they will ever do in life. It takes some guts and some faith and a lot of action to do the things I want to do in life. I am just willing to do those things today, thanks to AA.

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Growth

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Fear emanates from me like a thick mist of moisture. It permeates and fills me until there is no ME left and only the Fear exists. I am not my self, I am no longer human. I have become my nightmare.

This is me on many days, not as many as a month ago and not nearly as many as six months ago when every day was filled with fear and anxiety. It was my drinking fuel.

Today and yesterday have been weird days for me. I have accomplished so much in the past couple of months, in regards to a new career in writing, and sobriety. However, yesterday was one of those days where I woke up, and everything was as it usually is. I did everything I was supposed to do. I checked everything off the list. But, I still felt a sense of unease and foreboding, like I was waiting for God to part the clouds look down at me, realizing he made a mistake and squish me to death. Of course, this never happened and I went to bed like I usually do. But again this morning, I woke with a great sense of anxiety as if I was somehow behind the 8ball.

Still, I did all the things I was supposed to do. “What the hell is going on?” I had to ask myself. It would be easy to think that I am not doing enough or that I am somehow just working a mediocre program. But everyone around me says I am doing well; my sponsor says that I am doing all I can.

I came to a realization, which I usually do throughout the day, either during meditation, prayer, writing, or talking to another alcoholic.  I am anxious about travelling and being out of my, oh so wonderful, routine.  Which led me to the next realization, that everything will not always be on my time table and most importantly,  I am not always going to feel great. I will repeat that, I AM NOT ALWAYS GOING TO FEEL GREAT. I know, I know blasphemy. But the pure and simple fact is that I spent my entire life running from feeling’s any feeling’s the only thing I wanted was the feeling of no feeling. That is why I drank. If I didn’t feel, then I didn’t have to deal, not with life, not with people and definitely not with myself.

The program teaches me that only by dealing with what I feel I can grow. It is a gift of life to be given all the emotions and uncomfortable anxiety-inducing situations that teach me to grow. And I am almost certain that is what I am here to do, to grow. When I am not growing, I am simply dying. What a waste of life to be born to die. That is not my lot, that is no one’s lot. I believe that my Higher Power, placed me on this Earth to grow and to help others grow. It is why, I feel so alive and fulfilled when I am assisting another alcoholic, or learning something new, or accomplishing something that inspires me. Growth is the most natural and frustratingly painful thing in life. Call it change if you will, but I say it’s Growth, one and the same.

So this anxiety that I am feeling, its ok. I am ok with being uncomfortable, it is a symptom of being human, and to deny my anxiety, which honestly is only present because I am traveling tomorrow and will be out of my routine, is to deny my humanity. I will no longer deny my humanity because that would be denying the very essence of who I am.

I know who I am today and that is a blessing.

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Jumping the Gun: The art of Patience

trees in park
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I am impatient. There I said it. I want to be the best now, immediately before anyone else. I want to be happy now. I want to have millions of dollars in the bank now, and damn it I want everyone’s love and respect RIGHT NOW!
I am a bit of a child in this respect, but I realize that its ok. I have to be patient with learning patience. I can forget that I have spent the majority of my life sick, looking for instant gratification. From alcohol or women or food, whatever, it didn’t matter. The main thing was that I felt better and I got what I wanted immediately. It happened to me again this week, when I finished my novel. I did my edit of it, and before letting any other eyes edit it, I submitted it for reviews. SMH. I do this to my self without even thinking. I get so caught up in a state of “Oh My God, I did it. This is the greatest book ever; everyone has to read it now.” I lose my freaking mind, haha. I have to laugh because when I look back at myself in that crazy state, it’s funny. Like watching a child beg and plead for a toy that they want, then they get it, and 20 mins later are on to something new. I completely forgot that finishing the book was never the actual goal. The real goal was to write what I love, and when I was in that place every day was a friggin gift. The moment I went from writing what I love, to, everyone has to read this now, I lost my purpose and my joy. That’s not to say; I don’t want people to read it, because I do and I believe it is good work. But because I was impatient, I put out an incomplete product, which I am learning is not the way to win readers, especially if I am asking them to spend money on what I do. So, I will edit the hell out of Trent Foster and The Council of 10 before publishing.
The program of AA is teaching me that there is a better way, but to get there, I have to be willing to allow the feeling of uncomfortability to sit in my life, without trying to numb it or run from it. “Oh, you mean being uncomfortable has a purpose?” Yes, it does have a purpose, and that purpose is personal growth. I have numbed myself and ran away from discomfort for so many years that, six months worth of working a spiritual program has not taught me everything I will ever need to know in life. But it has shown me that its ok not to know everything and in fact, it is a key to a happy and fulfilling life. When I believe I know everything I am all high and mighty and full of myself, judging others for their lack of knowledge.
How small of me, I have come to realize that the less I know, the better. Thinking I have all the answers causes me to force my will in my life. I am not an Omnipotent, all-knowing being. I am just Matt, and that’s good. I don’t have time to manage everyone else’s life. I can’t even handle my own. But every day is getting better, and learning to be patient with myself and the things in life that are out of my control is allowing for a lot more happiness and joy to flow into my life. Because life is not all run according to my schedule, there is so much more to the picture than I am even capable of seeing. That is why I must pray every day for God’s Will.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

I need this reminder every day, or I will force my life back into a state of ruin. I no longer want to live in that misery anymore. Or at least not today.

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